by Berry Friesen (May 31, 2016)
The great American extravaganza known as “the campaign for President” rolls on before our eyes. It is a spectacle of unparalleled drama, capable of engaging the hearts and minds of the most determined skeptic.
Sure, this spectacle is ridiculously expensive and a huge waste of human resources. But how else does a cynical empire—one that demands our blood and treasure for the private use of the elite—win our passionate and heart-felt support? Do you think our hearts and minds can be bought on the cheap?
Less sophisticated empires employed crude and coercive methods to confirm the allegiance of their citizens: loyalty oaths, soldiers in the streets, secret police to ensure fidelity to the leader for life.
America—the home of Hollywood and Madison Avenue—knows far better ways to accomplish the same purpose: every four years, enact a riveting story in front of the citizenry and ask them to decide who wins in the end. As we follow the story’s twists and turns, we will choose a favorite character and identify with his/her successes and failures. At the show's conclusion, we'll vote.
And when the story reaches its climactic moment with the election of a new President of the United States of America, our allegiance to the corrupt, ravenous and blood-soaked empire will again be confirmed.
What? Do I really mean to say the endlessly complex and surprising Campaign 2016 is a giant reality show, stage-managed for the empire’s Machiavellian purposes? Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying.
It’s not such a stretch. Have we forgotten the elaborate efforts of the empire to win our support for the criminal assault on Iraq in 2003? The plan was hatched during the Clinton years and given momentum by the terrorism of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks that immediately followed. These were huge events, but the US government had little interest in the sort of fact-based investigation routinely conducted by your local police department after a small-time burglary or mugging. It was all international drama and intrigue creating a case for invading Iraq.
It’s very important to remember the elaborate hoaxes deployed to win our support for that particular criminal enterprise: the exiles who came forward with detailed descriptions of Saddam’s nuclear weapons program, the secret documents showing Saddam’s importation of Nigerian yellowcake, the aerial photographs of bio-chemical weapons labs, the endless and inflamed rhetoric from the news media. Yet it all was thoroughly fraudulent.
Similarly, it’s very important to remember the huge expense and elaborate planning that has gone into concocting first al-Qaeda and then ISIS as existential threats to the safety of the USA.
Such operations are endlessly complex, very expensive and highly demanding. Do we really think all of that expertise is only deployed over there, across the waves? Do we really imagine those tools of deception are not trained on us too?
So we have Donald Trump, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders, each winning passionate support and renewing our hopes for the empire. Is each of them aware that they have been cast in leading roles in the great American reality show? We can’t be sure, but we can be sure of two things: each wants to win the presidency and each is aware of the rules of the contest.
What rules? First and foremost, all serious contenders must assume the righteousness of imperial purposes, the beneficial effect of US domination. That’s why we hear almost nothing from Trump, Clinton or Sanders about renouncing the one thing that sets the tone for everything else: full-spectrum domination of the world. Everything is fair game for debate but that.
Bernie Sanders may yet be the Democratic nominee. It all depends on the results of the investigation of Clinton’s email practices, a matter firmly within the control of a key imperial operative, the FBI. Whether it’s Sanders or Clinton is a small matter in the scope of things; what’s really important is that via their competition, millions of Americans have become newly invested in America. And that through their explicit and/or implicit support for US imperialism (joined by Trump, of course), American discontent will focus on anything but the root of America's problems: US militarism and aggression abroad.
Back in March, I predicted Donald Trump would be the next President. He’s perfect for an empire that specializes in the blurring of the line between pretense and reality, has just the skill set to win back the allegiance of a huge and deeply jaded slice of the American population, and is suited by temperament to the king-of-the-hill spirit of empire.
Of course, we are the targets of this grand seduction. As I’ve said many times in this blog, what the empire needs from us is legitimacy; it is what transforms the empire’s brutality into the empire’s justice. Imperial legitimacy is what this election—and every presidential election—is about.
Does it really matter to you who next serves as the face of the empire? Do we really have a dog in this fight? Think about it.